LAHORE - Punjab emergency Operations Centre Coordinator Ms Syedah Ramallah Ali has hailed efforts of religious scholars in polio eradication and said ulema have played a key role in dispelling misconceptions.

The EOC coordinator who is leading the polio eradication programme in Punjab was addressing a meeting of religious scholars belonging to various schools of thought in Lahore on Monday. The conference was organized by Tanzeem Ittehad Ummat, a religious organization working to promote religious harmony, in connection with the National Immunization Days (NIDs) starting from August 22.

“The campaign will help building immunity among children and help them fight the virus”, said the head of polio programme in Punjab.

“This campaign is being held in the midst of monsoon. Heavy rains have displaced large number of families. Reaching children in the areas hit by floods and during rains will be very challenging. But the health department and polio teams have taken this responsibility as a challenge to protect children from lifelong disability”, added Ms Ramallah.

“Ulema have always played a major role in sensitizing parents about the benefits of vaccination. The government expects of the ulema to continue sensitizing parents about the need to vaccinate children in every polio eradication campaign”, stressed the EOC coordinator.

“No child should miss polio drops especially in remote areas, villages and hamlets where probability of a child missing polio drops is high”, observed Ms Ramallah.

During the workshop ulema belonging to various schools of thought pledged support to polio eradication efforts. All scholars hailed efforts of polio teams and said the noble cause rendered by the polio teams was reflective of the true teachings of Islam.

Speaking on the occasion, Muhammad Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi, the chairperson of the Tanzeem called for upholding the rights of children as envisaged in Islam.

“Islam has laid much emphasis on the rights of human beings. Our religion even lays emphasis on the rights of animals. Our children have the right to receive vaccination and live a healthy life. We should not deprive them of their rights”, said Muhammad Ziaul Haq Naqshbandi.

Mr Naqshbandi added saying that polio teams go door to door to ensure that all children get the polio vaccine and safety from the virus. “It is also the role of ulema to play their role and speak whenever needed to build an amicable environment for polio teams”, Mr Naqshbandi stressed.

Quoting a hadith Allama Qari Bilal said that best among Muslims is the one who helps others. “polio teams deliver vaccine at every household. Parents must support the teams”, added Allama Bilal.

Mr Allama Hafiz Muhammad Zikria backed polio eradication efforts saying although Punjab is doing fairly well but “we cannot afford to be complacent yet until the virus is completely eradicated from Pakistan as well as Afghanistan”. Dr Abu Bakar Siddique, the district health officer, responded to the queries of ulema attending the conference. In response to a query, Dr Siddique said national polio eradication campaign will start in Faisalabad and rest of Punjab on May 23. “I am of the view that if a simple flu cannot be cured with just one doze of medicine, how can we cure polio. More dozes of polio vaccine mean more immunity for children against the crippling disease”, observed Dr Siddique.